May 22

Ask Etta: Non-Wedding Events—Who to Invite and How to Invite Them

While we dish about the hottest trends and latest designs (aka the fun parts of wedding planning!) we also know how stressful prepping for the big day can be. So, we would like to formally introduce you to Etta, our new etiquette expert. She’s ready and happy to delve into your every etiquette dilemma.

Quite a few people have asked about who to invite to non-wedding events and how to invite them. So here’s what Etta had to say…

Who to Invite

When it comes to weddings with a large amount of out-of-town guests, it is completely normal to have pre and post-wedding activities to entertain them while they’re in town. It’s also fine to to invite only certain people to these activities, as long as you have defined guidelines for who those people are. For example, it is totally acceptable to invite only out-of-town guests to your events, and to leave the local people out. This is done regularly for weddings and most guests will completely understand that your goal is to entertain the people who do not live there and have to stay in hotels, pay for travel, etc.

If, however, you decide to invite some local people and some not, you may end up hurting feelings or causing resentment between guests unless you have clear guidelines for your decisions. Since your wedding is meant to be a celebration of a joyful time, make sure that your events either include everyone, just out of towners, just bridal party, just family,  or a combination, etc. You want to try to avoid inviting some local friends but not others, or some local family but not all. If you decide you want some local people, etiquette states there really is no choice but to invite them all. You may also want to mix events; for example, have one event that includes everyone and then have a collection of smaller events only for your out-of-town guests. This way, everyone will feel included in something!

How to Invite Them

It is customary to send a separate invitation for the non-wedding events. This allows you to invite the people you want included for that particular event. Keep in mind, this invitation does not need to be as formal as the wedding invitation nor do you need to include formal response cards. It is perfectly acceptable to have email, phone or online RSVP for events like the rehearsal dinner, post-wedding brunch, etc.

If you are having multiple events that the same people will be invited to, another idea is to create a little packet to inform guests of all the events. This informational invite can outline your pre-wedding events as well as post and also be sent separately from your wedding invite. Think of it as a little itinerary for the weekend.

Are Non-Wedding Events Mandatory?

It is perfectly fine not to have additional pre and post-wedding events. However, it is recommended to have a rehearsal to practice the details and logistics of the next day. But, a postrehearsal party isn’t obligatory although a nice opportunity for the couple’s families to come together. Another nice gesture for out-of-town guests is to provide a list of local restaurants and/or things to see and do in lieu of or in addition to a physical event.

Hope this helps clear up all the trickiness around the non-wedding events!

Have an etiquette question for Etta? Email us at and she’ll post an answer for you.


July 26

The Top 10 Forgotten Invitees: Things to Know

We all know that you simply can’t invite everyone you know to your big day, but there are certain people who get left off the list more than others. Did you forget to (or decide not to) send invitations to these top 10 most forgotten wedding invitation recipients?

  1. Kids. When the budget gets tight, they are generally the first group left out of the mix.
  2. Exes. Even if you are still close, it can be hard to squeeze out another place setting for an ex on your wedding day.
  3. Great Aunts and Uncles. We blame poor health and/or travel concerns for this one.
  4. Second Cousins. In general, they don’t expect to be invited anyway!
  5. Childhood Friends. This can definitely lead to hurt feelings, but if you haven’t spoken in 15 years we don’t think your fifth grade promise to invite your BFFs should still stand.
  6. Neighbors. Again, this group doesn’t generally expect and invitation unless you are particularly close.
  7. Coworkers. It’s always nice to be invited, but certainly not a must!
  8. Non-Mutual Friends. The friends you share in common are likely the friends you spend the most time with, so anyone who doesn’t like to hang out with your future spouse might not make the cut.
  9. Friends’ Families. Sometimes parents of close friends are invited, but it’s definitely not expected by any means.
  10. Friends Who Argue with Your Fiance. If you’re trimming guests from your list, this is a natural. Who wants to invite drama on their wedding day?

Do you have any forgotten guests you’d add to the list? Leave a comment and tell us!


December 11

Rant or Rave: Wedding Reception Games

One of our staffers recently attended a wedding reception that started with a game—each table was assigned a song, and then asked to come up with an impromptu dance for that song that they would then perform for the entire group.

The young people at the wedding really got into the fun little activity, but—surprise surprise!—Great Aunt Sally and Uncle Duane weren’t too excited about dancing to Sir Mix-a-Lot.


Have you ever attended a wedding that included games at the reception? Would you happy participate, or secretly sneak off to the bathroom for the duration of the activity? What games work and what games simply don’t?

Do wedding reception games make you want to rant or rave?


September 18

Rant or Rave: Following Up on Declined Invites

In general, when you send out wedding invitations, you have a pretty good idea of who will be RSVPing “Yes” and who will be sending their regrets. Sometimes, however, those reception cards can be a bit of a shocker.

We’ve heard stories about close friends declining invitations with little to no excuse, leaving the engaged couple confused to say the least. This type of scenario has us wondering—if a declined invitation hurts your feelings or leaves you baffled, is it appropriate to speak up? Can you ask why a guest isn’t attending your celebration?

What’s the best way to handle such a tricky situation? Have you ever declined a wedding invitation from a close friend? Do confrontations over declined invitations make you want to rant or rave?

Vintage Magnolias Response Cards


September 4

Rant or Rave: Multiple Mandatory Wedding Events

This summer, one of my dear friends was dragged to an engagement party, a bridal shower, a bachelorette weekend (not just one night!), another bridal shower and, of course, the wedding. She was asked to bring gifts to every event, and to help pay for the parties more often than not.

The real kicker is, she wasn’t in the bridal party. She was the only non-bridal party guest who was expected to be at every event because she’s know the bride since they were kids.

What wedding events should be mandatory for non-bridal party members? Who should be expected to pay for extra events? What’s the proper protocol for close friends who aren’t bridesmaids or groomsmen? Rant or rave about it!



August 7

Rant or Rave: Wedding Crashers

We’ve heard this story time and time again:

You invite a friend to your wedding. You’ve perfectly budgeted, so when he asks if he can bring his girlfriend, you give him your regrets and let him know that you simply can’t accommodate another guest. He knows at least a dozen other people at the wedding, so you assure him it will be fun without his girlfriend by his side.

Your big day arrives, and lo and behold you see your friend saunter up with his girlfriend. Iin front of all of your guests while you are standing there in your wedding attire with your new spouse, he asks, “It’s okay if Jenny stays for the reception, right?”

This is a classic wedding crasher sabotage move. Bringing a guest who is not invited is a faux pas all on its own, but asking your permission on the day of your wedding is downright rude.

What would you do? Smile and say, “Of course,” or toss him and his girlfriend out to make more room for your more polite friends?

What’s the proper way to handle a wedding crasher? Is it the more the merrier? Rant or rave about it!